Do you use Google Analytics to track website traffic?
Then it's likely that this changed with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Because Google Analytics is NOT GDPR Compliant.
While many marketers have been aware of GDPR for a long time, many are still learning about its implications.
But, don't worry; we are here to save the day and show you all the tips and necessary information you need on GDPR and Google Analytics!
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it went live on the 25th of May, 2018.
The law applies to all companies that control or process data of EU citizens. This means you need to understand what type of information you collect and how Google Analytics fits into this equation.
Any processing of visitors' data must be fair and transparent.
Your site visitors must voluntarily grant you specific, informed, and unambiguous consent to handle their data by subscribing to your newsletter.
Consent requests must be easily distinguished from other content.
Only valid objectives mentioned clearly to your visitors can handle data.
Only collect and process as much data as is absolutely necessary for the purposes mentioned, and you should only keep the data for as long as is required.
By implementing data encryption, processing must be done in a way that ensures sufficient security, integrity, and confidentiality.
Visitors to your site can cancel the consent given before at any time.
No. Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools globally for digital analytics, and it's also been in use forever.
But anyone in marketing or web design knows that you need to be GDPR compliant.
Google Analytics breaches the GDPR for monitoring visitors using cookies, acquiring personal information, and sharing the information with other services, such as those for advertising.
When you upload the Google Analytics script to your website, it begins tracking user activity and collecting data on on-site visitors via cookies and clicks.
Even if GA does not collect your name and address, GDPR defines PII (Any data that may be used to identify a specific individual is considered personally identifiable information (PII).) to include permanent IDs such as ClientID, UserID, and IP Address, all of which are collected and maintained by Google Analytics.
Because you're sharing your visitors' PII with a third-party (GA), you must make this information public and provide visitors the option to opt-in or opt-out of data collection and processing.
Let's go through making Google Analytics compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
You can also get permission if a user provides an email address.
It must also specify what information is being gathered, why, how, and to whom it is provided for each data use case.
In the EU's GDPR, an IP address is considered personal data. So by default, IP addresses are never reported, but Google utilizes them to offer geolocation data.
That's why it's a good idea to use Google Analytics' IP anonymization option.
Once established, Google will anonymize your IP address as quickly as technically possible by eliminating the final octet before storing or processing it (your IP becomes xxx.xxx.xxx.0, with a '0' replacing the last portion/octet).
According to Google, once this option is activated, the complete IP address is never copied to the disk.
Note: IP-address anonymization is always enabled in Google Analytics 4 (which collects data from your apps and/or website).
You collect data from your apps using the Firebase SDKs and your website using a global site tag with a Measurement ID for your web data stream.
All Google Analytics cookies require end-user consent to comply with the EU's GDPR.
Google Analytics cookies are placed in their browsers when visitors come to your website. This is how Google Analytics can recognize and remember each unique user, track them across several websites, and provide you a complete map of their trip to and from your domain.
Note: If you disable cookies, you'll disrupt Google Analytics, which will make your analytics data inaccurate. You can disable Google Analytics cookies, but it causes a significant reduction in the efficacy of Google Analytics. Unique visitor tracking will be broken, with nearly every pageview counted as a unique visitor.
This gives you control over how long individual user data is retained before being erased automatically.
Go to your Google Analytics account's "Admin" section.
Reduce the "User and event data retention" to the shortest amount of time feasible in the "Tracking Info" section by clicking on the "Data Retention" section and reducing the "User and event data retention" to the shortest amount of time possible (14 months). Twenty-six months is the default setting.
Disable the User-ID function in the "Tracking Info" section by clicking on the "UserID" section.
You can also turn off Google's data sharing. Uncheck the "Data Sharing Settings" under "Account Settings" to accomplish this.
To ensure that Google Analytics – including its cookies, trackers, and statistics tools – complies with the GDPR, you must do the following:
1. Before activating and operating any Google Analytics cookies on your website, request and get end-user consent.
2. Control each Google Analytics cookie to ensure that they are only activated when your users have given their explicit approval.
5. Enable IP anonymization and ensure that pseudonymous identifiers are used.
But the bottom line is that all organizations using Google Analytics should be, or should have become, GDPR compliant.
That's why we've offered up everything you need to know about Google Analytics and GDPR compliance in this guide.
Google Analytics can provide invaluable insights into user behavior on your website, and following the steps above should ensure that any data collected adheres to GDPR requirements.
Yes. If you collect personal data via your website, you need to get the user's consent first.